Friday, 29 March 2013
Please Don't Make Me Plan
"Right children we are going to be writing an adventure story called The Storm. No, Jimmy, put down your pen - you can't start now because today's lesson will be writing the plan. Remember I talked last lesson about all stories needing a beginning, middle and end. That's right, Cloe, we have to set the scene, introduce the problem, plot the build up and the climax to the story and then note down how it will be resolved."
This was me, two years ago, teaching my year 6 class the importance of planning a story.
This is me two years later.
Now what was that interesting comment Ali made when we were swimming last week? Ah yes, she said, "I've been on a diet for four weeks but it's David who's lost the weight." I like that. It would make a good story. Turn the computer on. How shall I start? I know: Val sat on the bar stool and watched her husband at the hob. Singing to himself, he ripped the lid from the double cream and added it to the soup. Now why did I write that? Oh yes, because that was what my husband did last night. What shall I write next? Shall I make Val happy or sad to start with? Let's try happy. "Hmmm... When will it be ready? Shall we open a bottle of wine?" she smiled.
And so it goes on, the story taking shape as I write it, the characters taking over and living lives I hadn't foreseen when I first breathed life into them.
This story was published in Woman's Weekly and there was not a plan in sight.
So what about the saying practise what you preach? I hear you gasp. The simple answer is - I CAN'T! Even at school, I was unable to plan a story and the same holds true today.
Planning! How I dread that word. The mere sound of it conjurs up lines and grids and organisational skills which I seem to lack.
So why is it that I have just spent the last fifteen minutes reading an article by Barbara Dyness about this hateful word in this month's Writer's Forum magazine.
It's because I know that one day - if I am ever to write anything longer, such as a serial or a pocket novel or even (fanfare) a novel, I shall have to have a try, give it a go, take the bull by the horns even.
If I do, I shall use the brilliant mind mapping app on my iPad called Total Recall - which you can read about in my post Mind Mapping Your Stories.
Happy Easter everyone!